The Tragic and Mysterious Death of Brandon Lee on the Set of ‘The Crow’ Youtube: Miramax
Youtube: Miramax

Actor and martial artist Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee and Linda Lee, may have inherited his fathers acting and martial arts skills. But, some speculate that he was also passed along more than just his physical skills. Brandon, just like his father at the time of his death, was working on what would have been one of the biggest movie roles of his career. Unfortunately, days before completion, he unsuspectedly died a tragic death which made people believe the Lee family was cursed.

Following His Father’s Footsteps

From a young age, the actor was learning kung fu, Muay Thai, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and boxing following his father’s footsteps. A few years later, Lee decided wanted to find his own path, which is why when he started to vigorously go out for acting roles. Being chased by his fathers legacy, one of the first roles he was offered was the lead in “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story“, which was a biopic about his father. He ultimately decided to turn it down.

It took a little while but he started to make his own way in Hollywood. In 1986, he starred in ABC’s Kung Fu: The Movie and shortly afterward, Legacy of Rage, a Hong Kong action film. He returned to the Kung Fu series for the spin-off, Kung Fu: The Next Generation and then his second film, Laser Mission by Warner Brothers.

His big break came in 1992 when he landed the role of Eric Draven, in an upcoming movie The Crow, directed by Alex Proyas. Beating out Johnny Depp and Charlie Sexton, the producers wanted the appeal of a rock musician for the lead. Brandon Lee landed the role due to his martial arts skills and experience. The story of Eric Draven was a man who is murdered along with his fiancee at the hands of a street gang who miraculously comes back to life to avenge their deaths, a year to the date, guided by the spirit of the Crow.

Accidental Death

Brandon Lee’s death was from a gunshot accident on set near the end of the film’s production. It was around day 50/58 of shooting in North Carolina. In the scene where Eric Draven dies, he is shot by actor Michael Massee’s character, Funboy, a member of the gang. The scene called for Lee’s character to be shot in the chest when he walks into his apartment carrying a grocery bag and a decoy explosive was supposed to deploy in the bag.


By mistake, there was a piece of a dummy bullet stuck in the barrel of the .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 629, and when the intended blank was fired from the gun, the fragment shot Brandon. Everybody thought the scene was running as normal until “cut” was called and Lee wasn’t responsive. He was rushed to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for surgery. He died after several hours of surgery on March 31, 1993, at just 28 years old.

After the actor’s death, several rumors made its rounds believing his death was no coincidence. One of the most outrageous rumors was that several suggested Lee was intentionally murdered by the same Chinese Mafia that had “supposedly” caused the sudden death of his father in 1973. People believe this was Bruce Lee’s punishment for exposure of ancient martial art secrets on camera. Others though Brandon’s death was organized by the Hong Kong movie industry, who was angered by his refusal to work in their films. But, I think we can all agree that these are basically conspiracy theories since the sound way too crazy to be true.

The Curse of ‘The Crow’

The shot was considered an accident, but the scene was not used, for obvious reasons. To finish the film, the death was rewritten and a stunt double was used to film a new death scene. Paramount Pictures, the original studio, dropped the film and left it up for grabs. It was eventually picked up by Miramax, embracing the controversy advertised it as Lee’s final film and dedicated the movie to actor Brandon Lee and his fiancée, Eliza Hutton.


Coincidentally, Brandon was not the only person to die during the filming of this movie. Many crew members died strange and accidental deaths during the filming of this The Crow. Maybe it was strange juju attached to the film or to the locations. Some believe it may have even the film. Maybe it was truly just dumb luck. Whatever it was, the fact that The Crow was such a success after winning awards, accolades, and a crazy loyal following, surely makes those we lost in the process very proud.

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Moriah Gill About the author:
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